EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Diving headers

The diving header is a spectacular technique that goal scorers can use when attacking crosses they can’t reach with their feet, or when they want to beat their marker to the ball.

What this session is about

  1. Heading the ball at waist height or lower.
  2. Scoring goals.

What to think about

  • Session safety for heading – Is ground soft? Are players old enough?
  • Match dangers – players risk kicks to the head.
  • Technique:
  • Dive forward to intercept ball.
  • Dive parallel to ground.
  • Solid contact with forehead.
  • Follow through with body.
  • Break fall with hands.
  • Technique/accuracy first, power later.

Set-up

  • 1 ball.
  • 2 players approx 5m apart.
Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes10 minutes20 minutes10 minutes7 minutes

What you get your players to do

The player heading begins on their knees. Server stands opposite and throws the ball so the player can dive forward to head the ball back towards the server. After 10 attempts switch roles.

Start with players on their knees to lessen the impace.

Start with players on their knees to lessen the impace.


Development

The player heading stands in a slightly crouched position while the server throws ball at waist height. The player dives forward to head the ball back towards the server. After 10 attempts switch roles.

Move to a crouched position to practice “take-off”.

Move to a crouched position to practice “take-off”.


Game situation

Play 2v2 in a grid a goal-width size wide by approx 10m long. A player from each team stands at the opposite end lines, while the other players, acting as servers, stand at the halfway point on opposite sidelines. The server from Team A throws the ball so their teammate can run and head the ball before crossing the halfway line.

The player defending the end line is allowed to stop the ball from crossing the line but isn’t allowed to use their hands. One point is awarded for headers on target while a second point is given for balls that cross the line. Each team takes it in turns. The winning team is the one with the most points.

The defender on the line tries to prevent the header from crossing the line.

The defender on the line tries to prevent the header from crossing the line.


What to call out

  • “Give them a good throw”
  • “Attack the ball”
  • “Eyes open, mouth closed”
  • “Back on your feet quickly”
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